Division III: De Facto Parentage Not Blocked by Two Living Parents
Washington allowed de facto parentage in 2005, meaning someone who isn’t an actual parent biologically, but was really a parent to the child. Here, the de facto parent had been with the mom since the kid was two. Even after the relationship ended, he kept up visitation. When the mom wanted to stop visitation, the de facto filed to be included in the parenting plan. The guardian ad litem (person assigned to watch out for the kid’s interest) agreed the de facto parent should be in the kid’s life. The only big thing here is who needs to consent to the de facto parental relationship:
A person petitioning for de facto parentage must show that (1) the natural or legal parent consented to and fostered the parent-like relationship, (2) the petitioner and the child lived together in the same household, (3) the petitioner assumed obligations ofparenthood without expectation of financial compensation, and (4) the petitioner has been in a parental role for a length oftime sufficient to have established with the child a bonded, dependent relationship, parental in nature. . . .
Ms. Shows-Re's second contention also fails. The fact that lB.R. has two living biological parents does not prohibit Mr. York from petitioning for de facto parentage. In L.B., L.B. had two living, biological parents at the time ofthe petition. L.B., 155 Wn.2d at 684-85. Nevertheless, the Washington Supreme Court adopted the de facto parentage doctrine to recognize the parental role undertaken by Ms. Carvin early in L.B. 's life. Id. at 707-08. The long-absent biological father's emergence into L.B.'s life at the time of the petition did not prohibit application of the doctrine. . . .
It is uncontested that lB.R.'s mother consented to and fostered a parent-child relationship between Mr. York and J.B.R. If Mr. York "undertook an unequivocal and committed parental role with the consent of all existing parents but does not have a statutorily protected relationship, justice prompts us to apply the de facto parent test. This adequately balances the rights of biological parents, children, and other parties.” B.M.H., 179 Wn.2d at 244. We distinguish M.F. and follow L.B. based principally upon the distinction that here, the noncustodial biological parent voluntarily absented himself from his child's life, thus consenting to and fostering a relationship between his biological child and the petitioning party.
J.B.R. gets to keep her daddy in her life, even if he wasn’t the sperm donor.